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What were the consequences of slave trading on Africa and America?

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The slave trade had profound consequences on both Africa and the Americas. The full extent of the consequences is huge and too numerous to fully explain here. Below you will find a brief summary of some of the larger consequences of the slave trade in each region.

In Africa, particularly along the coast of West Africa, the slave trade greatly changed the political and social dynamics. Beginning in the 17th Century, more and more European slave traders would go to the African coast to purchase slaves to bring to the New World. They traded with local rulers and merchants who gained power and influence as a result. The trade introduced many foreign goods to Africa, such as firearms and foreign cloths.

The slave trade did lead to near constant warfare between the coastal groups and the peoples of the interior who they targeted as slaves to sell. This led to a stymied economy and a great shortage in the labor force. Even though a large economy developed based on slave catching and trading, few other economic endeavors were pursued as a result. It decimated entire communities and created a gender imbalance as men were more often kidnapped than women.

As time went by, Europeans sought to trade for slaves on their own terms. This resulted in the establishment of slave forts along the coast and the stationing of garrisons in slave-trading ports. As a result, Europeans were better poised to colonize parts of the African continent in the 19th Century when the slave trade had ended.

Of course, the slave trade also had a profound effect in the Americas. It introduced a large population of subjugated individuals. This led to a strong economy with a workforce that was able to find, harvest, process, and transport huge amounts of resources. A wealthy planter and merchant class developed as a result.

The slave trade also had a huge impact on the ethnic makeup of the region. In many places, particularly in the Carribean and Brazil, African slaves mixed with other populations over time to create a unique and blended culture that incorporated indigenous, African, and even some European elements into the society. This was less the case in the United States where slave populations were often kept strictly apart from much of the white population. There, it created a dual society - one made up of the free white population and another made up of slave laborers.

One major consequence that would develop as a result of the slave trade would be divisions among the ruling white classes. As slavery went on, many people began to feel that it was morally wrong to keep people in bondage. Of course, the slave owners who were making huge profits off the backs of their slaves tended to disagree. These disagreements would eventually lead to outbreaks of violence over the issue, most notably the American Civil War.

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The consequences of slave trading were very different for most people in Africa than they were for most people in America.  The people in America (other than, of course, the slaves) generally benefitted from the slave trade.  The people in Africa were generally harmed by it even if they themselves were not taken as slaves.

African states were often badly hurt by the slave trade.  This was mainly true of the states away from the coast.  The coastal states did not lose that many people to slave trading.  Instead, they raided inland, took slaves, and sold them to the European slave traders.  This badly harmed the inland states because the people taken as slaves were typically the people in the prime of life.  This was done because those people were the ones who would get the highest prices when sold.  That meant that the inland states were losing the labor of the strongest members of society.  They were being culturally and socially harmed by having large numbers of people torn away from them.  The slave trade was devastating to them.

By contrast, the Americas generally benefitted.  The plantation owners in the South, of course, benefitted from the slave labor that worked their plantations and made them rich.  But the rest of the country benefitted as well.  Ship owners in New England profited when their ships were used to carry slaves to the Americas.  The profited from the goods they sold to Africa to get the slaves.  Other companies in the North profited by doing things like insuring slaves and slave ships.  They profited by selling things like shoes for the slaves to the plantations.

In these ways, the people in America generally benefitted from the slave trade while many African states were badly harmed.

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